|From Vietnam 2009|
Jamie and I flew out of Hong Kong airport on Friday night on a 9:45 flight. We arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam that evening about 10:30, and was promptly driven to our hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi, the Little Hanoi Hotel DX.
We had previously worked out a package deal with this hotel for a 3 day tour of Halong Bay as well as a trip to Sapa, a mountain village an overnight train ride west of Hanoi.
On Saturday morning, we were picked up by our Halong Bay tour company and by 12:30 after a 3 hour van ride were on our junk boat with 20 other people seeing the karst landscape of Halong Bay. After a brief tour around some of the mountains, we took a trip inside one of the mountain caves. They had it spectacularly lit up with all sorts of lights and did the typically laser light showing us all sorts of cave formations in the shape of horses, turtles, kissing couples, etc.
After our cave tour, we went to a water village. Like the one in Cambodia we saw this time last year, the people that live in the water village number about 200 and they fish and cater to the tourists that come by on the junk boats selling fruits and trinkets.
The afternoon on the ship was relaxing and we enjoyed the sunset before sleeping on the boat that night. Our room was decent enough, but we awoke early for some kayaking around the mountains.
Afterwards, we went to Cat Ba island for some "trekking." We had not really been told about our little trek beforehand, so Jamie and I were both still wear our Teva flip flops while we hike straight up a 250 meter mountain. At several points in the hike, we were actually just climbing straight up the mountain. It was severely hot, but we made it to the top, and I even went up the rusty swaying tower for an additional view.
Afterward, we were exhausted, so we decided to nap in our little hotel on the island. The island is completely catered to tourist, but it was quite nice.
The next day, we awoke and took the junk boat back to the mainland and took the 3 hour van ride back to Hanoi and the Little Hanoi Hotel. We rested a bit before heading out into the Old Quarter to walk around the lake before finally finding a restaurant. We camped out overlooking the busy streets. Be sure to check out the pictures of the electrical wiring that surrounded us. If we don't have brain cancer, it'll be a miracle.
Great trip so far. We have some touring in Hanoi for the next 2 days before taking an overnight train to Sapa. Decent Internet here, so I should be able to post every day and upload pictures.
Check out the photo album at the top as always.